They should get rid of the monarchy, said next doors.
There was a demonstration on Sunday in Spain calling for the abolition of the monarchy. Sunday was the anniversary of the Republican government, but pre-Franco and the current monarchy.
Partner agreed about getting rid of them, and said ‘no vale nada’ – not worth anything.
I stayed out of the conversation and dutifully got on with our breakfast (hot garlic chilli fried potatoes – a variation on patatas a la pobre – poor people’s potatoes, appropriate huh?)
People want Rajoy (Spanish right wing prime minister) to call an election, added next doors. Well actually, they asked for that back in February, but that got nowhere.
If you ask me, the Spanish monarchy will remain as is, and Rajoy will stick it out to the end. Preferably sooner rather than later.
At a local level, apparently some young people in the village have lost their houses because they couldn’t keep up with their mortgage payments.
Our village is a mix of old and new. In the old part where we live, virtually all the plots are old family plots and children live at home, get a small house built on the same plot and no-one has a mortgage. But – in the new houses – people need mortgages.
And yet driving back down to Gib on a weekday, there didn’t seem to be a shortage of money as lots of people zapped past us in bright shiny new cars obviously to-ing and fro-ing at work.
Meanwhile, it seems the electrician turned up last week to faff around with the cables to our set of houses. He turned up Sunday evening (!!) to let people know he was coming the next day. Good period of notice there eh?
I sent him a text last week saying when we would be around, got no reply. Great. Next doors told us to ring him. I don’t think so. It cost me a small fortune last time to ring him on roaming so I was stuffed if I was going to ring him again just to be told he wouldn’t turn up. Either he would or he wouldn’t. He didn’t. Do I care about more power in my house? No. Sevillana Endesa will only put up the prices if I have more current.
My darling chickens were pleased to see me. OK, they were pleased to see the fresh food I took in for them and particularly attacked the spinach. I ended up giving them some of the leaves I had intended to take back to Gib.
The bean harvest was greater than ever.
You’ll get a basketful there, said José. Well, I would if I had a basket but I chucked them in the Morries bag.
They’re long and big though. You might need to stew them, he added.
This is the guy who used to specifically ask the veg man for large broad beans. Now he’s telling me they will be tough.
I figured he didn’t want any so I kept my haul to myself. Nor were they tough, I might add. Aguadulce variety should anyone be interested.
One of the plants had thrown up an interesting flower. I needed to get rid of it, said José. It’s taking the strength from the bean production. Well, probably, but I thought it looked rather nice and forget to chop it down. It’s not as though I was short of beans.
The end of an era
And the final nail in the coffin?
Well, I thought the funeral was very good. Impeccably carried out with superb military precision. (Thatcher’s funeral in case anyone wonders what I am writing about).
I don’t have TV so hadn’t thought about watching it, but I idly clicked on a BBC link and for once it worked. Normally it doesn’t because Gib doesn’t pay UK TV licences, or some such bollocks. Anyway it did work. So I watched.
As I’ve never watched either a royal wedding or a royal funeral, this was probably the first ceremonial event I’ve seen in my life. Well, apart from trooping of the colour of course.
Some high points and rather lower ones.
The black horses were wonderful. Reminded me of Mary Wesley’s book about Poppy Carew which involves a funeral director with black horses.
The armed forces and Chelsea pensioners were nearly as wonderful. If anyone still hasn’t worked this one out, the reason Thatcher got this flash funeral at state expense and with the queen’s permission, was because of the Falklands.
You only had to look at the coffin bearers, and the significant presence of the Welsh Guards, many of whom were killed in the Falklands. This funeral wasn’t just about Thatcher, it was honouring the men who gave their lives going to war to defend British territory.
Is that really so difficult to understand?
Let’s add another couple of points. She didn’t want a fly past – she considered it a waste of money, and she didn’t want eulogies at the funeral service.
The family asked for people to give donations to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, rather than placing flowers.
But on with the show. Coffin draped in the union flag, and a beautiful display of white roses on top. Have to agree with that as I had white flowers for the funeral of both my parents (white roses are the symbol of Yorkshire, not that Margaret Thatcher came from Yks).
Excellent procession that set off from the beautiful church of St Clement Danes, and like St Paul’s Cathedral, was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. It’s also the central church of the Royal Air Force.
Muffled drums. Sombre music.
As for St Pauls? Just wonderful. What a venue. And seeing all the faces from the past was amazing. Even Lord Carrington – ha, he would have
given away negotiated about the Falklands.
Other guests? Well, sheer disrespect from America (sorry American pals, but it’s true). No-one from the current government. Whatever happened to that so-called special relationship? Special when you need us to back you up in some middle eastern misadventure but not so much so that you can respect a former prime minister who had a very strong US/Anglo relationship.
Kissinger, the Newt and Ross Perot. Perot?!
Australia was represented by John Howard and at least Canada sent their current prime minister, Stephen Harper. No idea whether NZ appeared.
Along with Obama refusing, so did Clinton, and in Germany Merkel snubbed it. Gorbachev and Nancy Reagan sent their apologies due to old age/ill health, which at least is more than can be said for the younger ones who didn’t attend.
The service? Beautiful choice of music. I thought the best bit was the address by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres. He spoke well.
As for Amanda Thatcher? She also spoke well, with great precision, and was spookily cold. Great achievement at 19 years of age to speak to more than 2000 people in St Paul’s. Captivating? No. Professional? Yes.
Cameron. Yeah, he was ok too.
Oh and the queen was there with Prince Philip. They had cute little thrones placed in the front row. Just amazing.
Anyway, it’s time for people, including me, to leave Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven, alone. RIP.
And as an aside, apparently I’m sort of neighbours with Mark Thatcher. He wasn’t allowed to stay in Monaco after his permit expired, couldn’t get into Switzerland or the US (due to his conviction for anti-mercenary activities) so he came to Gib and married his second wife here in 2008. Seems he spends most of his time in Marbella. Probably knows Sean Connery.
I looked him up in the Gib ‘phone book, as you do. ‘Hi Mark, sorry to hear about your mum, nice funeral, shame you couldn’t have paid for it though out of your alleged £60 mill – according to the Sunday Times back in 2005.’ Anyway, he wasn’t in the ‘phone book. Parallel lives, different worlds.
In my own little world, we decided to have an evening geocache at a new and extremely local situation. As we got there, we noticed some people hanging around. Hmm, that meant we would have to look inconspicuous and nonchalant until they left. And then we recognised one of them from our geocache meet back in December.
‘Do you want some help?’ he asked as we approached and said hello.
‘No thanks,’ said Partner who likes to do things properly. What a neat cache it was too. It was specifically bought to look like a rock and had a little hole underneath to hide the log sheet. Great fun.
[I did see that the person who found it first (there is some cachet – ha! – to being First to Find) had contacted the cache owner to ask for help. Bit of a scam that if you ask me. First to Find with help isn’t really playing the game. IMO.]
However fired up with that achievement, even if he did find it not me, off we went to another one, also just five or ten minutes walk away, which I was allowed to find. I do love these city-based caches that don’t involve staggering up the rock overlooking perilous drops.
And as they were both hidden in Gibraltar’s defensive walls – Wellington Front and Jumpers, it made a fitting and appropriate historic end to the day.